PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

Camper, Hitchcock, J R Fearn and the pop-up bookshop.

We were lucky in that we managed to get away in our camper for the couple of dry days this week hence a shorter blog. We had a meal in the local pub by the River Blythe where they had a large bookcase of second hand books on sale for the local church but nothing very old unfortunately. 

The pub had been fortunate in that they had escaped the rising flood waters by about an inch they estimated but several cars in the car park hadn’t got off so lightly. Nor had the lady next door who had installed electric pumps since the last flood and then the water shorted the electric out before they could be put to use!

Just added two more Hitchcock anthologies namely books 1 and 2 of ‘Stories To Be Read With The Light On’ plus a photograph I took of the original artwork for a couple of other titles by Hans Helweg when I was in his studio. I will get around to re-scanning all the others one day and try and work out artists for them!

Amazon regularly offers me recommendations, mostly ignored, but one of them was for ‘The Tattoo Murders’ by John Russell Fearn (1908–1960)  whom I’d not heard of. He was a prolific British writers who appeared  in American pulp science fiction magazines and published his novels also as Vargo Statten and with various pseudonyms such as Thornton Ayre, Polton Cross, Geoffrey Armstrong, John Cotton, Dennis Clive, Ephriam Winiki, Astron Del Martia and others.
It was the cover that caught my attention as it uses artwork by Sam Peffer but not in a good way especially the writing of ‘Mary’ on the girls back, very amateurish. I then looked and found at least five more of Sam’s covers mangled to use for Fearn titles.  I know a lot of the Bond covers get recycled but usually more tastefully than these.

If you happen to be in Wolverhampton in the next three weeks from next Monday why not call in and visit the pop-up bookshop. I’ll be calling in shortly and usually find a few books to buy at very reasonable prices.

Crossword Puzzle, Vernon Coleman and Sam Peffer.

Apart from needing PAN X705 to complete my PAN collection which happens to be a crossword book I was also after the last two Piccolo Crossword Books numbers 11 and 12. Luckily I saw a copy of 11 for sale from a ‘pile them high sell them cheap’ supplier who, for once,  included a picture. It looks like it has never been opened, now to track down 12 but I don’t actually have an ISBN for it which doesn’t help.

At the grammar school which was attended by my son they have a list of alumni including  Sir Henry Newbolt, Frank Windsor, Jeffrey Holland and Dr. Vernon Coleman. Vernon often appeared on television and radio and wrote several books three of which were published by PAN under his real name and two under the name Edward Vernon as they were of a less academic nature! Nice to see the correct use of ‘practice’ and ‘pactise’ but then you would expect that from a grammar school pupil (speaking as one myself!) The covers of these were by John Ireland who painted a lot of sporting figures and the Guinness ‘How it’s made’ posters. I found an address for him near Norwich and I’ve written a letter but no reply so far. I hope he is still with us?

Just as an aside which is the odd one out of Newbolt, Windsor, Holland and Coleman? Answer only Newbolt has a Wetherspoons pub named after him in Bilston.

I’m still working on the Sam Peffer negatives/photos he used to help with the poses for his book cover artwork. These are not just PAN but Digit, Arrow, Hodder, WWW, Romance in Pictures etc. and I’ve rejigged Sam’s pages now with three options. The first is links to the photo covers, the second just to artwork and the third a miscellany of Sam related bits and pieces such as the below, Sam and Kitty’s wedding certificate. These will be added to over time.

Duns Tew Publishing, Puzo, Sam Peffer and RIP Kirk Douglas

I was disappointed when I found this poster listed for sale that it had already been sold. Duns Tew published Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming PAN book covers as greetings cards of which I have a few but I would have loved to have been able add this poster to my collection. The page I made a long time ago certainly needs updating!

After posting a several Mario Puzo covers recently I’ve added a couple more but I’m still one short of the covers I know exist, namely ‘The Dark Arena’ from 1989. I nearly missed the subtle difference between the 1972 and the 1977 editions of the film tie-in for ‘The Godfather’ Have you spotted it?

I’m still going through the Sam Peffer (above with Kitty) negatives and photos I have and recently added a few more PANs including ‘Miss Silver Comes To Stay’, ‘Dark Duet’  and ‘A Case For Inspector West’, the others being 10 Days To Die’ from Panther, Wantons Die Hard’ from Digit and ‘Middle Mist‘ from Arrow. Since I put on ‘Middle Mist’ I found another cover from two years later that used the same model. The original photo was from Sam’s great niece Kathy but the hands were not quite right for the Arrow cover but were for ‘Nurse in Love’ I have since found a strip of negatives which show the same model but with her hands in many different positions and have managed to pair up the right ones.
STOP PRESS More are being added all the time and the list will be update as I find covers for all the different publishers. The page is HERE

I was sorry to hear Issur Danielovitch, better know as Kirk Douglas, passed away at the good old age of 103, I always think him in one of my favourite films ‘The Vikings. He appeared on the front cover of X131 ‘Two Weeks in Another Town’ from 1962 with, coincidentally after mentioning him previously, is by Sam Peffer. Pan also Published Kirk’s autobiography ‘The Ragman’s Son’ in 1989 (Not to be confused with ‘The Ragman’s Daughter’ by Alan Sillitoe)

Puzzling Comment, ‘The Guardians’ and Wonky ‘Oggy’

I do like to get comments as they always illicit the same response from me namely that this means it’s not just me reading the blog.
I recently got this;
“I am a clearance coordinator with Cleared by Ashley, Inc.; we are working on a feature film and Production is interested in using one of your father’s artworks as set dressing in the movie. Can you please provide me with an email address so that I can you the details of our request? Thank you for your time and consideration.  We look forward to receiving your response. Best wishes, Keith Block, Cleared by Ashley”
I emailed back to say I was a little confused (no change there) especially the reference to my Father but as it was attached to the blog mentioning Julek Heller were they trying to contact him? I said I would pass on their contact details to him so he could decide if he wanted to respond or not.
They replied;
Dear Tim, Sorry for the confusion. Thank you for your reply. Trisha
So still confused but I’ll report if there is any follow up.

There are sixteen titles in ‘The Guardians’ series by Richard Austin but PAN only published ten of the titles originally from Jove in the US. I am wondering why PAN labelled number ten as ‘The final adventure in the blistering new series’ when there were at least another five later titles already published in the States at this point? Richard Austin was the pen name of Victor Milan who wrote over one hundred books and who died on the 13th February 2018. All the PAN covers are by Gino D’Achille while I’ve only identified three of the Jove editions. ‘Armageddon Run’ is possibly by D. Cook while ‘Devil’s Deal’ and ‘Valley of the Gods’ are both by Cliff Miller I only bought the later six titles by Jove for completeness, the first ten are off the web.

While visiting Attingham Park recently, to drop off some books for their second hand bookshop, I couldn’t resist splashing out 25p on a Piccolo edition of ‘The Travels of Oggy’ illustrated by Hans Helweg. It was only when I got home I realised it was a wonky binding with the title on the spine being more on the front cover than the spine and a blank sliver on the back edge. It’s not very often you come across copies like this, they are usually sliced from the top or bottom.

Nearly forgot to mention Jules Burt’s latest video featuring nearly all of the first one hundred titles from PAN. I’d forgotten how good some of those early covers were. Click HERE to see the video.